The summer of 2023 has been one of the harshest for Mediterranean countries, with severe heatwaves and forest fires inflicting damage to humans and natural habitats. In Greece, more than 172,630 hectares, about 1% of Greek land, were burnt, including unique habitats and protected areas of great importance. The flames led to the evacuation of thousands of residencies and accommodations in Attica, Loutraki, Rhodes, Corfu, Magnesia, Fthiotis, Evoia and Evros areas, while there were also some casualties.
One of the most important National Parks of Greece, the forest of Dadia in Evros Regional Unit, was severely burnt, to the point that scientists fear that the forest is lost and do not expect it to return to its previous form.
The area of Dadia is a NATURA network protected area and was the sole habitat of 4 different vulture species in Europe (Egyptian vultures, Black vultures, Griffon vultures, and Common vultures). It was a primaeval black pine forest consisting of ancient trees with a flattened top, which means that 100 to 150 years would be needed to get such trees in such a shape where vultures would nest. The habitats that were hosted in this forest cannot be found in any other region of Europe and this is because the conditions that created it were unique.
For us in Life Terra, the news of these destructive forest fires is the cause of great pain, but also a motive to keep up with our important mission, to plant more trees, educate people about the climate crisis and the importance of forests, and make a significant difference now, because we understand that the time to change things is limited.